You’ve got a pier and beam or another crawlspace type of foundation on your home. You think you might have “foundation problems” that need repair, but you’re not really sure. If only there was a sign . . . or a clear list of signs . . . that spell trouble for the pier and beam home you love.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we inspect and repair home foundations all the time, both slab-on-grade foundations and pier and beam foundations. We’ve leveled and repaired 1,000+ crawlspace-type homes in the Brazos Valley since 1985.
This article will discuss and describe the top 3 signs of foundation problems you might particularly see in a crawlspace foundation home. That way you can better confirm signs of foundation settlement in your pier and beam or block and base style home.
Foundation Settlement Problems: Pier and Beam vs. Slab
Don’t foundation problems look the same in all home types? You might have run across a bunch of other articles that talk about signs or symptoms that you need foundation repair, but they all seem to be for slab foundations.
You have started to wonder if things might be *just a tad* different for a pier and beam foundation vs. slab foundation. You’re thinking, “Where’s the pier and beam stuff? I want to read about things specific to MY foundation type. Is that so wrong??”
You’re not wrong. Slab-on-grade foundations and crawl space foundations are very different in the way that they are made and function. While several common signs can indicate foundation settlement problems for any type of home, some particular signs are *the most typical* to find in a pier and beam or block and base home.
3 Common Signs of Foundation Issues for Pier and Beam Homes
These are *the big three* most common signs you might see in a crawl space home that is experiencing foundation settlement:
- Diagonal Cracks in Drywall Off of Door and Window Frames
- Door Fit Issues
- Bouncy, Loose, Rattling Floors or Floors with Highs and Lows
All of these signs are things seen in the interior of your home. For the most part, exterior cues are not as prevalent on pier and beam/crawl space homes compared to slab foundation homes. Let’s take a look at each of these signs in a bit more detail.
1. Diagonal Cracks in Drywall Off of Door and Window Frames
Diagonal cracks in your walls that come off of door and window frames are the top all-around sign for any foundation problems. It’s a sign that has no other root causes other than foundation settlement.
You will see a crack that starts usually in the corner of a door or window opening that heads away from the door or window. They could come off of the top or bottom corners of window frames, we have seen both. For door frames, it’s going to be the top corners.
It doesn’t really matter how long or wide the crack is, it’s the fact that there is one. If you have a crack of this kind, it’s a sure sign that foundation settlement is occurring in your home.
In a pier and beam home, which may also be an older home, the interior walls can be made of various materials other than the traditional drywall used most often today. It could be plaster-based, some type of paneling, or everyone’s *new (but old) favorite* . . . exposed shiplap.
So even though this is a super common sign, depending on your wall type it may or may not be showing up in your home. Good thing we’ve got two other signs for you to go by . . .
2. Door Fit Issues
Doors that don’t close, lock, latch, or are misaligned and even get stuck completely are a sign that you might need foundation repair for your pier and beam home. This means that the door frame is out-of-square and the hole that the door is supposed to fit in *don’t fit in it no more*.
You might even see doors that have been cut on the top or bottom edges in the past that signal that these foundation issues have been happening for a while. Many times, rather than fixing the *underlying* foundation problem, people (and handymen) would do a quick fix and just cut the door to make it go back in its frame and work right.
Cutting doors usually only works temporarily and the issue will likely return because the root cause was not addressed. Door problems also have other root causes like failing hinges so you have to rule out other possible issues first to confirm that this is a foundation settlement sign.
3. Bouncy, Loose, Rattling Floors or Floors with Highs and Lows
Floor problems are a sign that can indicate foundation issues in a crawl space home. Usually, you’ve got wood floors, carpet, or sheet vinyl flooring and the floor is not sturdy in some way. Maybe the floor rattles (along with the knick-knacks on your shelves) when you walk by. Maybe the floor feels bouncy or has roller coaster ups and downs that make you feel a little sea-sick.
Settlement of the expansive soils underneath the home can loosen up the interconnected structure of a crawl space foundation. If any individual sill beam, shim, or pier moves, sinks, or becomes compromised, the change can have a ripple effect on other parts of a crawl space foundation.
It’s important for all parts of the pier and beam structure to be snug and secure, so when anything gets *un-snug* settlement is the most likely culprit.
Now, there can also be other root causes besides foundation settlement that create similar floor issues. Wood rot, long-term leaks, and termite damage can all cause flooring problems that “look and act the same” as foundation problems.
Multiple Signs and Worry Confirm Foundation Problems
It’s usually more than one foundation settlement sign in your home that confirms a true problem. In other words, it’s not just going to be one thing. You might see several issues in combination that all point to a foundation problem.
Then, the way you feel about those issues and how much they concern you are important factors as well. If all these symptoms are causing you a lot of worry and unhappiness with your home, then it’s officially a foundation problem FOR YOU.
Ask yourself: How many signs am I seeing and how much do they bother me? If the answer is, “several and quite a bit,” then it might be time to seek the help of a foundation repair company.
Do You Know For Sure That It’s Time For Pier and Beam Repair?
This little ol’ article can only take you so far in confirming a foundation problem for your pier and beam home. You are seeing signs and are worried, but are just not sure if it’s time for repair. Or are you still wondering just how urgent all of this is? Then maybe you need more information on how to know if the time is right for you.
In 35+ years at Anchor Foundation Repair, we work hard to make sure homeowners feel confident in their decision to move forward with repairs. We want you to feel ready and never want to push anyone to get repairs if they are not 100% on board.
So we have helped you determine that you have some settlement issues going on with your pier and beam home. But how confident do you feel that repairs are needed now? See where you are at with, “Foundation Settlement Confirmed: When Is the Time Right for Repairs?”